© DIY Family Travel 2023

Austria - Salzburg

Why Salzburg? Salzburg is one of our family’s favorite cities. It is beautiful. It feels clean, there is great food, the people are nice, it’s on main train lines, it’s very walkable or bikeable or there’s quality mass transit, it’s just a really great city to visit. Sound of Music Salzburg is the locale for one of our favorite movies set in Europe, “The Sound of Music”. Sites that we visited that are still very recognizable from the movie include: Exterior of Schloss Leopoldskron - The back of the Von Trapp Family House. More to come on how to visit this. Schloss Frohnburg - The front of the Von Trapp Family House, including where Maria sings the end of “I Have Confidence”. Residenzplatz - Square in the city with a fountain that Maria splashes in before getting on the bus to go to the Von Trapp house while singing “I Have Confidence” Mozartsteg - Cute little bridge crossing the Salz river that the children and Maria go by on their day trip to Salzburg. Schloss Hellbrunn - The original Gazebo in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” is now located here. Mirabell Gardens - “Do, Re, Mi”. More to come on the various parts of the garden to check out. Do I make my kids sing the songs while we’re in each location so I can film it and save it forever? Do they make me sing the songs while we’re in each location so I can film it and save it forever? :) Sure does make for fun memories. There are tours that you can take that will take you to all of these places. Many of them are bike tours, which are a fun way to see everything. Bus tours will also go to the different places. We here at DIY Family Travel did it ourselves (surprise!) since I like not spending money on things I can do and figure out for myself. I also like the puzzle of figuring out the best way to do it. I used this website (thanks, big boy travel!) to help me know exactly where to go, and then I used Google Maps between each place to figure out if walking or bus was the best way to go. Someday I’ll put my exact route on here. I also didn’t go to each place on Big Boy’s website - I looked at it and figured out if this was a place worth my time going. (I don’t think all of them are.) Google Maps makes this a lot easier than when my wife and I first did this in 2008, where I famously ran into a signpost while riding a bike and trying to read a large paper map at the same time. Museums There are a couple of different Mozart museums in town. Mozart is huge here given that it’s his birthplace. The Geburtshaus (Mozart’s Birthplace, where his family lived for 26 years and where he composed many of his earliest works that first earned him a reputation as a musical genius. There is also the Wohnhaus - his residence where he lived from the age of 17 is a little less crowded but also in my opinion a little less interesting, but pretty cool too. Churches Salzburg remained a very Catholic city throughout the Reformation. The Salzburg Cathedral is beautiful. The white inside looks clean, there are beautiful frescos inside the dome, and it’a special treat if you happen to hear the organ play (particularly a Mozart piece). I should mention, because we had the same question - the church where Maria and Captain von Trapp were married was on a movie lot and was not this cathedral. Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele) Although Americans probably know about the music and performing arts festival due to the von Trapp Family Singers singing there in the Sound of Music, the festival itself was founded in 1920 and presents high-quality opera, classical music concerts, and theater performances. The Festival is in late July to late August - we haven’t been there at that time and so we haven’t attended it (yet). Playgrounds - Spielplätze Salzburg is a great place for family european travel because there are some cool playgrounds. At DIY Travel we love finding cool unique playgrounds. They balance out the lots of walking and sightseeing and make for fun memories too. We won’t spend hours at a playground, but a quick 20 minute playbreak followed by some Haribo gummies does wonders for morale. Also funny how they can be tired walking but they see a playground and the energy to jump and climb has returned! Here were our three favorites in Salzburg: 1. Zauberflötenspielplatz (Magic Flute Playground) Inspired by one of Mozart’s most famous operas, The Magic Flute. This is located right next to the Mirabell Gardens. 2. 2. Spielepark Sud - South Playground This is right behind the front of the Von Trapp film location, Schloss Frohnburg. You can see the roads on the map, you just go around the Schloss. Or if you take the bus down there, you might get off on a bus stop along Alpenstrasse, and then you just go up Frohnburgweg and then you’re there. It had rained a little bit so this park was a little muddy, but all sorts of fun slides and zip lines and things. 3. Spielplatz Hellbrunn - Hellbrunn Playground This might have been the best spielplatz we found in Salzburg. Great big zip line, fun inventive playground. Bathrooms nearby, and you’ll probably come here anyway for the castle, the trick fountains, or the Sound of Music Gazebo. I’ve uploaded a video so you can see some of the things here. Day Trips from Salzburg Salzburg is a great home base for visits throughout the beautiful Salzkammergut, or the Austrian Lake District. Our favorite town in that area is Hallstatt. Check out our guide for our day in Hallstatt. How did we prepare? We watched the Sound of Music multiple times. I wanted my kids to see buildings and gardens and immediately think - “Hey! That’s where Maria sings I Have Confidence!” Things like that. Salzburg was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, so listening to some of his most famous music was part of our preparation. I just made sure to have it on in the background while we were hanging out at our house. We have German ancestry so it was easy to get our kids excited enough to learn some basic German phrases. Duolingo was helpful with this. Getting them to say it to Austrians? A little more tricky for us, but I managed to coax out a “Danke” and a “Auf Wiedersehen” here and there. What do we still want to do there? There is a trick fountain place at Schloss Hellbrunn. I didn’t do it because we didn’t have time, it looked like rain, and I thought it might be kinda hokey so we didn’t spend the time/money. We had friends that went the week after us and said it was one of the highlights of their trip. Le sigh. Salzburg means “Salt Village” or “Salt City” because historically there were salt mines in the area. You can tour some of them and I regret not doing that. Next time. I’ve had friends that have rented cars and driven around the area. I bet you can get to some beautiful places to sing to the world that the hills are alive with the sound of music with a car. How did we get there? Salzburg has a great haptbahnhof (main train station). As always, The Man in Seat 61 is the best for understanding your train routes and how to get here and there from anywhere on trains. How did we get around? We did a lot of walking. Train station, hotel, Mirabell Gardens, Old Town Salzburg, all of these were walking distance. However the Salzburg bus route system was pretty easy to figure out with Google Maps helping out with directions and timing. We bought bus tickets at a kiosk (there’s plenty around, we got ours on Mirabellplatz). The Salzburg Verkehr website gives the lowdown on current prices and fares - they have all sorts of different types, regional zones, and lengths so what you need depends on what you should get. There are child (free below age 5), youth (6 to 14 pay a minimum price) and youth (age 16-18 pay youth fare) fares. A quick note: Poking around the Salzburg Verkehr website you might find info on a Family Pass, but it’s only for families with the main residence in Salzburg. The actual fare prices change every so often so I’m not going to put the exact details re: pricing on here. Where did we stay? Holiday Inn Salzburg City. I like Holiday Inns because (generally) Kids Eat and Stay Free, I have lots of IHG points (wasn’t necessary here, we got pretty good value) so I don’t worry about anyone being upset that we have our three kids with us. This was a pleasant 15 minute walk from the train station. Remember the 3 Pillars of Travel - Time vs Cost vs Experience. This place we chose by focusing on cost. We could have found a place downtown, that would have increased the experience and decreased the time spent to get around…but at great cost expense. So here we decided not to do that. We were comfortable and it was a great home base.
The Official Flag of Austria
The good Salzburgers want to make it very clear to their visitors exactly where Mozart was born
Closer view of Fortress Hohensalzburg
The inner city is a delight to walk through, preferably with some Eis (ice cream) in hand
The interior of the Salzburger Dom (Salzburg Cathedral, completed in 1628) is an early Baroque delight
A view of Salzburg, with the Festung Hohensalzburg (Fortress Hohensalzburg) looking down on the city
Walking through Hellbrunn Castle grounds
The crossing walk signals in Salzburg are a delight!
© Lorem ipsum dolor sit Nulla in mollit pariatur in, est ut dolor eu eiusmod lorem 2013